During June and July, the PDO and the Ambassador team hosted two online events called Making the News, Faking the News for Year 9 and 10 students from various secondary schools across the county. Both events were held on the digital meeting platform, Zoom.
Making the News, Faking the News is an activity designed for Year 9 and Year 10 students to find out how communication has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the day, students first took part in a group activity about communication as a whole. In this session, students explored what communication means, the different types of communication that exist, and how these might have been altered because of the pandemic.
Students then split into taster sessions from three subject areas: Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences. These taster sessions were created and presented by postgraduate ambassadors. The Humanities taster was run by Bob Henderson, Social Sciences by Aliaa Elshabrawy, and Sciences by Noor Issa. In these sessions, the students found out how politicians, companies, and scientists respectively have adapted their forms of communication during the coronavirus pandemic.
After the students had completed the two taster sessions of their choice, they were set a challenge to create a piece of work that demonstrated what they had learnt about communication and how it has changed due to COVID-19. This work could have been either an article, poster, video, or podcast that analysed a news story using what students had learnt throughout the day. Some questions that they were asked to think about whilst creating their work were: ‘Is this story presenting all the facts? Is there an agenda behind this story? What is it, how can you tell?’ and ‘Does the story reflect the changes mentioned in the subject tasters? How and why might that be?’
Once the students had completed their work, they were asked to email their submissions to the Outreach office so that a winner for the best work could be chosen. The winning piece of work had to demonstrate the best application of the skills and concepts that they had learnt during the Making the News, Faking the News event.
After all the submissions for the students’ challenge had been submitted, the PDO and Outreach office went through each entry and chose two winners. The winners were Thelma, from Dartford Science and Technology College, and Daniel, from The Charles Dickens School. Both Thelma and Daniel displayed great knowledge and understanding of what communication means, how it has been changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how we have adapted to these changes.